Take trade, investment ties to next level: Trudeau

Nayanima Basu New Delhi | Updated on February 22, 2018 Published on February 22, 2018

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal and FICCI President Shobana Kamineni, at the India-Canada Business Session in New Delhi on Thursday PTI   -  PTI

Canada likely to push for concluding talks on investment protection pact FIPPA

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday made a push for taking bilateral trade and investment ties between India and Canada to the next level, even as he hinted at concluding the talks for a Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (FIPPA), and a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between the two countries.

“Trade lifts the poor from poverty. We can create better labour standards and empower women by doing more trade and investment with each other’s countries. We can have trade and investment that are profitable and benefit from economic growth,” Trudeau said at an event that jointly organised by industry lobbies CII, FICCI and Assocham.

Trudeau, who is on a week-long visit to India, said there are over 400 Canadian firms doing business in India and would like to see greater trade and investment flow between both countries.

“Our trade agreements allow unparalleled market access to the global economy. If the Canada-India relationship was based on aid in the 1950s, today it is defined by trade and investment,” he added.

He also said that during his trip, the Indian industry had committed investments worth over a billion dollars in Canada which he believed was “true vote of confidence” by India to Canada.

“It is my hope that this trip will lay the foundation of a stronger relationship in future. We need to leverage the business and knowledge network that already exists. We have to deepen and broaden our historic friendship. We need to shift from the whole-of-government approach to whole-of-country approach,” he said.

Trudeau will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday. This will be their first-ever bilateral summit-level meeting.

Canada’s wishlist

During the meeting, Canada is expected to push India for “de-linking” the pacts on investment and trade. The Trudeau government has already made it clear to India that in the absence of the FIPPA, large-scale Canadian investments, especially, in the thriving pension fund segment will not come to India, sources told BusinessLine.

A FIPPA ensures adequate legal safeguards on foreign investments coming to the host country.

India, on the other hand, is insistent that the FIPPA be signed along with the CEPA. But while the talks on the FIPPA are in their final stages, negotiations on the trade pact are far from over, sources said.

“We are in the midst of negotiating a free trade agreement between Canada and India. I think there is goodwill on both sides, and I was really encouraged by the positive experience we had. The economic relationship between India and Canada is on good footing, but a lot more can be done,” said Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland at an event here.

India and Canada have been negotiating the CEPA since 2007.

Published on February 22, 2018
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